Russian cybersecurity executive appeals to Putin as detention for treason extended


FILE PHOTO: Ilya Sachkov, head of Russia's Group IB cybersecurity company, is seen in a car in Moscow, Russia November 9, 2018. Picture taken November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ilya Sachkov, the head of a Russian cybersecurity firm, on Tuesday appealed to President Vladimir Putin to let him be moved to house arrest while he awaits trial on treason charges after his detention was extended until February.

Sachkov, 35, who founded Group IB, one of Russia's most prominent cybersecurity firms, was arrested in September and charged with divulging state secrets, allegations he denies.

Russian media on Tuesday said Sachkov's detention had been extended by three months to Feb. 28, 2022, citing Moscow's Lefortovo district court.

In a statement carried by Forbes Russia on Tuesday, Sachkov again rejected the charges and compared his case to the Dreyfus affair, a political scandal that shook France more than a century ago.

"I am not a traitor, a spy or a turncoat. I am a Russian engineer. Through my work I have repeatedly proven my loyalty and benefit to the motherland," Sachkov said in the statement, given to Forbes Russia by his lawyer Sergei Afanasiev.

Reuters could not immediately reach Afanasiev for comment.

"I very much ask my president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, to allow me to spend the duration of the investigation under house arrest, with maximum restrictions."

When asked whether Putin had received such a request, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: "I don't know anything about that."

Sachkov's mother Lyudmila has previously urged the president to have her son released, calling him "a sincere patriot" in a letter in early October.

The Kremlin at the time said the letter had not reached the presidential administration and it was a matter for the court.

Treason is punishable by up to 20 years in jail. The details of such cases are rarely made public because of their classified nature.

Global IB focuses on investigating high-tech crimes and online fraud, with a global client base that includes banks, energy companies, telecoms firms and Interpol.

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; additional reporting by Dmitry Antonov and Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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